The big meets for the summer are just about done. The last of the summer championships are in the books. We know there are still several big "end of season" triathlons still on the books but in general things are beginning to wind down.
What we do, especially at this time of year, is to think about things we learned from observing our team perform at the big meets. We add to that what we learned watching other swimmers in the same setting. We have been asking coaches for tips. One very nice thing about American swimming is that coaches seem willing to share ideas about what works and what doesn't...at least in their situations. So here are some of the observations we have made. We'd love to hear from you about yours. Sharing is a wonderful of getting better.
Jim Bauman, the US Swimming Sports Psychologist, encourages athletes to "make sure your autopilot is engaged" when it comes to being able to perform at big meets.
In butterfly we saw Tyler McGill breathe every stroke for about 90 meters and then none at all for the last 10 meters. We also saw Michael Phelps take 17 strokes per lap - talk about distance per stroke.
Larry Liebowitz who coaches women at Oregon State turned us on to tabata training. Look it up on the web and or You Tube. He also said he has been collecting old "retired" fire hoses which are free instead of having to purchase heavy ropes.
Nort Thornton said he had recently seen an older interview with Popov who said the three things he kept thinking about were "rhythm, range and relaxation".
Several coaches spoke about Matt Fitzgerald's new book "Run".
John Dussliere who coaches the Santa Barbara Swim Club said since he has put his kids on jump ropes his shoulders problems have vanished. He also mentioned a good book, "Evolve Your Brain". He has developed a monster drag chute that seems very interesting. Watch for news about that.
David Marsh talked about how important his Masters group was to his Youth swim team...in a variety of ways from fund raising to development of additional coaches. He is speaking on this topic at the ASCA World Clinic.
And then this gem, from Theo St. Francis, a sophomore who swims for North Bay Aquatics. We were talking about the upcoming season and how many workouts each week he would be able to make given his school schedule and his commute. He had big improvements in his backstroke this year and can now "see" making his Junior National cuts. We said to some degree it matters how many sessions you make but it is even more important to put your best effort forward when you do train. He responded nearly instantaneously, "If I'm going to put in the time I might as well put in the effort". Truer words have never been spoken. It made us think about how many athletes - and coaches - put in the time but not the effort. And how many put in the effort but not enough time to really make a difference. It is definitely the combination that makes the difference. Put in the time plus the effort and you will get the results...especially if your auto pilot is engaged.
See you at the pool!